In the past, documentaries were largely seen as a form of entertainment that focused on something solely for entertainment’s sake. Documentaries had fairly simple formats: they often featured people talking about something important, or just displayed things such as historical footage. This is definitely not the case any longer. Today, documentaries are a major source of information and entertainment for millions of people, and they can even have an effect on public opinion of particular government policies and figures.
As a general rule, documentaries are designed to give people some kind of insight into events and places. While this is true of any film, there are a few defining features of documentaries that have made them particularly popular. Firstly, documentaries tend to be short, with a relatively small number of characters or minutes for them to tell their story. This means that they can be less expensive to produce, meaning that viewers will usually find them more rewarding than other forms of entertainment such as theatre or films. Additionally, films can often be shot on location, which means that a viewer will get an actual feeling of being there, rather than just viewing a television screen.
The subject matter of documentaries is also different from what it was ten or twenty years ago. It used to be that a documentary would focus on the story of a single person; today, documentaries are able to follow even a large group of people, showing their experiences as they go about their day-to-day lives. For example, one of the most popular documentaries from recent times is the Oscar-winning Silk Screen Story, which follows the life of two gay lovers as they meet and fall in love. Even though the film shows their passion for their chosen lifestyle, the documentary never shows any ill-feelings or conflict within their relationship; it simply displays the blissful, loving feelings between the two men. This shows that documentaries can tell stories that may otherwise go unnoticed by the general public.
Documentaries have also found new ways to interact with their audience. Whereas films and theatrical plays used to be strictly a form of entertainment for the audience, documentaries are able to entertain without having their audience suffer through lengthy, boring scenes. For example, many movies today contain short zips of music interspersed throughout the film, and many videos are accompanied by short advertisements for products and services. This makes watching documentaries more interesting for viewers since they are not forced to sit through long scenes of dull dialogue. In fact, some films that have long-running times have incorporated short commercials into their runtime, so that the audience does not lose interest halfway through.
Another one of the benefits of documentaries is that filmmakers are able to make educational and expository documentaries. Educational films allow the audience to view the information provided in the documentary in a way that will help them further their education on a particular subject. For example, a teacher who wants to show a class a movie clip on the history of the atom bomb would likely need to show the movie to the students in order to gain their attention and interest. On the other hand, an expository documentary is simply a film aimed at educating its viewers. Expository films may contain interviews, footage, or pictures about a particular subject, and they aim to provide the viewer with the necessary information to help them understand that subject.
Finally, the most common style of documentary films is those that are performed live. In live-action, a filmmaker will insert interviews, footage, or even live musicians into their documentary films. This allows the audience to experience the film as it was intended to be, including all the important emotions and actions that take place within the film itself. The benefits of documentaries encourage filmmakers to make live-action works since the format allows them to fully utilize all of the benefits and advantages of this form of multimedia.